We are at the end of the week and it’s time yet again to break down everything important that happened in the world of Microsoft in the past few days. Unlike the previous edition, we have lots of ground to cover this week ranging from Patch Tuesday updates to Insider builds and app improvements. Without further ado, let’s dive into our weekly digest for September 10 – September 16!
This week hosted the second Tuesday of the month, which means that we received a Patch Tuesday updates for all supported versions of Windows.
Windows 7 bagged KB5017361, which contains security updates and minor improvements to the OS. There are two known issues that you should be aware of as well. Meanwhile, Windows 8.1 received KB5017367, again with unspecified improvements and security updates. It also shares one of its known issues with the Windows 7 patch, namely the Daylight Saving Time (DST) problem detected earlier this month.
Windows 10 netted KB5017308 for Windows Server 20H2, and Windows 10 for the latest versions, 21H1, 21H2, bumping the builds to 19042.2006, 19043.2006, and 19044.2006 respectively. There are some security fixes but there are a bunch of known issues too. Patches were also rolled out to older versions of Windows 10 LTSC, so do check out all the details here. Those on a non-LTSC version of Windows 10 version 21H1 should remember that this specific OS is reaching end of life after three months.
Finally, Windows 11 got KB5017328, which includes a fix for a web dialog not appearing when signing in and out of your Microsoft account, an issue that has been present since KB5016691. There are two known issues in this latest build 22000.978 too. While it’s not related to this specific Patch Tuesday update, Microsoft has also fixed a voice typing issue plaguing the OS and references to a new LTSC version of Windows 11 have also been spotted in the wild.
And in a bit of surprising news, it appears that some brand-new PCs are already shipping with Windows 11’s first feature update, version 22H2. One particular Dell PC with build 22621.521 has already been reported online. For now though, Microsoft has not publicly disclosed a release date for its first major update to Windows 11.
Those who care about synthetic benchmarks and scores may also be interested to know that Windows 11 is facing a bit of a tough time on paper when it comes to performance comparisons with Ubuntu on AMD hardware.
Insider builds galore
At the start of this, we uncovered a way to enable a Windows 10-style taskbar search functionality in Windows 11 build 25197. It’s currently hidden by default but you can make it visible by using a simple ViveTool command.
Shortly after, Microsoft published build 22622.598 to the Beta Channel. Notably, it removes the ability to repair or uninstall Win32 apps with inter-dependencies through the Settings > Apps > Installed apps section. It also contains some fixes for File Explorer and a known issue related to the network icon on the lockscreen.
Microsoft rolled out build 25201 of Windows 11 to the Dev Channel. Its headlining features include full-screen Widgets, improvements to the Game Pass Widget, and more. There are several known issues in this build too, which is expected that this is the most unstable public ring in the Insider Program.
Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 received new builds in the Release Preview Channel with massive changelogs as well.
Windows 10 received build 19044.2075 (KB5017380) which adds the ability to view News and interests on the taskbar in any orientation, Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 now being off by default in all apps and browsers by Microsoft, and a good number of fixes. Meanwhile, Windows 11 netted build 22000.1041 (KB5017383) with dynamic Widgets and WebAuthn redirection, along with bug fixes.
Talking about preview builds, Visual Studio 2022 17.4 Preview 2 is now live with features like multiple active Git repositories, Arm64 support for Node.js and Visual Studio SDK, and a button in Test Explorer to reset the tests to “Not Run”.
Lastly, Microsoft has also implored its Mixed Reality Partners (MRPs) to start testing the next major update to the HoloLens 2’s OS and provide feedback. The update contains nine key improvements and the Redmond tech firm is entertaining direct feedback until September 20.
Microsoft app updates… including a TikTok ringtone
In a rather unexpected announcement, Microsoft revealed that it has collaborated with a TikTok influencer to create a more upbeat and funky version of the default Teams ringtone. This variant is called “Remix” and can now be enabled in the Teams app, but it isn’t the default ringtone.
Microsoft has also built a proof-of-concept project in Teams that allows attendees to e-sign documents in real-time during a meeting. It is integrated with Teams SSO and the Redmond tech giant has also published the code on GitHub so customers can adapt it to their specific use-cases. In related news, language interpretation is now generally available in Microsoft Teams Meetings too. Skype customers haven’t been ignored either as Insiders of that application can now take advantage of improved notifications, clickable profile pictures, and more.
In terms of upcoming features to be excited about, Microsoft will soon allow Excel users on Mac and Windows to automate repetitive tasks through scripts and the company may also add an autonomous AI-powered image quality enhancing solution to Microsoft Edge. For now, Office customers can take advantage of the “update under lock” mechanism that will silently update Office apps for you when they are idle, even when they are open, without losing any data.
Both Windows Terminal 1.15 and Windows Terminal Preview 1.16 are now live. The latter is a major update packing the new text rendering engine as a default, colors, themes, and more. Meanwhile, PowerToys 0.62.1 bashes a few bugs.
Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) on Windows 11 received its September update earlier this week too. It brings Chromium WebView 104, UX enhancements, improved stability, and some Linux kernel security updates.
Finally, Microsoft had some major updates to share regarding SharePoint. Basically SharePoint Server Subscription Edition (SE) will now receive two feature updates a year. The first is now available as Version 22H2 with lots of new features including AMSI, bulk editing, and a new SharePoint RESTful ListData.svc implementation. Meanwhile, SharePoint Server 2013 customers will soon get a new tool called SharePoint Workflow Manager for their workflows. They will also be among the recipients of the revamped notification experience being offered to customers on older versions of SharePoint reaching end of life.
This week in games, we learned that Microsoft could be prepping a gaming variant of its Surface hardware in the form of a “Surface Gaming Laptop”. Of course, nothing is confirmed yet, but a report claims that this could offer up to an RTX 3070 Ti GPU, a 1440p display with a 165Hz refresh rate, and 32GB of RAM. If the report is true, we’ll likely hear about this hardware at the Surface event in October.
Microsoft did face a major setback a couple of days ago though when the UK regulator Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered a Phase 2 investigation of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This is due to some antitrust concerns raised by the regulator and Sony, but since this is a particularly lengthy and detailed phase, the results will arrive on March 1, 2023.
Halo chief and 343 Industries founder Bonnie Ross has also revealed that she is departing the company due to a “family medical issue”. In light of this leadership shakeup, Microsoft has named current head of production and studio veteran Pierre Hintze as the new 343 Industries head.
But in some positive news, Microsoft attended the Tokyo Game Show where it announced that Deathloop and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are the latest entries to Game Pass. The company showcased a lot of other upcoming games too and you can find all the details here.
For fans of retro games, GoldenEye 007 is coming to Xbox and Nintendo Switch. The former platform will include improved controller support for dual analog sticks, 4K resolution support, smoother and consistent frame rates, and achievements arrive as new features for this classic. However, online multiplayer is surprisingly an exclusive feature for the Switch.
In terms of first-party stuff, Sea of Thieves has received another time-limited Adventure campaign in the form of The Sirens’ Prize, which is available only until September 29. Meanwhile, the Xbox app on Windows has received a nifty integration with HowLongToBeat. Discord Voice has officially launched on the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One as well.
Coming over to sales, deals, and promotions, Games with Gold received its final Xbox 360 game in the form of Portal 2. No Xbox 360 titles will be added to this subscription moving forward. Meanwhile, Deals with Gold this week is headlined by Assassin’s Creed and Borderlands.
The Xbox Free Play Days promotion only has a couple of titles this time, namely Golf with Your Friends and Diablo III: Eternal Collection. And if you’re a PC purist looking to grab some games on the cheap, don’t forget to check out this Weekend’s PC Game Deals, curated by our News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.
Under the spotlight
Earlier this week, I published an editorial detailing my thoughts on how it’s disappointing that Teams integration on Windows 11 has continued to be Microsoft’s neglected child, despite being featured front and center by default on the Taskbar.
I also wrote a listicle featuring the top 10 changes and capabilities that the public is requesting for Microsoft Edge, check it out here.
Meanwhile, News Reporter Taras Buria published two guides about enabling hidden features in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25201. The first deals with an updated date/time picker and “Rename your PC” UI.
And the second guide is about forcefully enabling full-screen Widgets if they haven’t been seeded to you in the latest Dev Channel build.
On the other hand, Neowin’s co-founder Steven Parker highlighted our recent guide about how you can update to Windows 11 version 22H2 right now if you are so inclined instead of having to wait for the update to be made available to you via staggered rollout.
Finally, forum member Adam Bottjen – better known as Warwagon” – wrote a brief guide explaining how you can quickly lock your Windows PC in his latest edition of Warwagon’s Tech Tip Tuesday.
This week’s surprising news item features Adobe buying up its design tool competitor Figma for a massive sum of $20 billion. The half cash and half stock deal is expected to close in 2023 following regulatory and stakeholder approval. Following completion, Figma’s co-founder and CEO Dylan Field will continue to lead his Figma team while reporting to Adobe’s Digital Media president David Wadhwani.
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